ALAMOGORDO, N.M. (KRQE) – Otero County is launching an audit of the 2020 presidential race. They want to see if there was any voter fraud but the audit will cost taxpayers thousands of dollars and some are concerned about the other problems it could cause. County Commissioners approved $49,750 last week to launch the audit. The Otero County Commission met last week to discuss potential voter fraud in the 2020 presidential race.

“We have to risk this we just have to, one way or another and if they don’t want to risk it the alternative pathway is get rid of machines and get to paper,” one person said in favor of the audit.

The price tag on the audit is close to $50,000. County Attorney, R.B. Nichols said there really are no guidelines on how to even pull voter records. He said he and the county clerk, Robyn Holmes reached out to the Secretary of State’s Office multiple times for guidance but ended up nowhere.

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The commission wants to make sure that everyone who voted in the county was registered to vote in Otero County. He warned should they do this wrong, there will be consequences. “If you request it and get it for an unlawful one that’s not in the Voter Record Act then you are subject to a fourth-degree felony,” Nicohls said.

He also said this would put unnecessary strain on the clerk’s office who would need to work overtime to file the request and redact information. “So those redaction are going to have to be done by the clerk’s office. They are also going to have to scan 6,000 absentee ballots envelopes by hand and it’s a considerable admirative burden,” Nicohls said.

Those who are for it say they need to know for sure whether there is any voter fraud in their county. “I know there’s fraud in voter rolls I can already see that there’s no other explanation for it. So we are going to do our best to see where that’s coming from. And if votes had been switched in this county I think we can pinpoint a small list of suspects,” said one woman in favor of the audit at the meeting.

KRQE News 13 reached out to the Secretary of State Office, the Otero County clerk’s office and the county commission for comment but did not hear back. Otero County is also looking to petition the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office to issue an opinion about the election audits so that they would be protected against potential lawsuits.